The Race Is On!

By on August 14, 2010

Ouch. 

Getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays this past weekend stung.  The Rays are far too good a road team to allow that to happen.  But happen it did.  Thankfully they went into Detroit and took 2 out of 3.  Bottom line was a 2-4 road trip which is definitely not what the Rays need with September looming and the Yankee’s winning.

But let’s talk turkey.  Of course I want The Rays to win the division but to be honest, it’s not all that important to me.  Currently, the Rays are better, albeit by a slight margin, on the road than they are at home.  Therefore, home field advantage isn’t all that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.[media-credit name=”Photo By: Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”190″][/media-credit]

Enter the real enemy, the Boston Red Sox. While The Rays have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games, the Red Sox have gone 6-4 and inched that much closer to the coveted wild card.  This is the plum, the big contest in my opinion.  And not only do we have Boston to worry about but there’s also the White Sox or the Twins, depending on who loses that division race.

With just under 50 games left in the regular season the Rays have a 4 game lead over Boston and a 5.5 game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the wild card race.  The Rays are firmly ensconced in the land of Anything Could Happen.  Thankfully, we control our own destiny.  Keep a good winning percentage and it would take a serious effort for either of the aforementioned teams to catch up.  Pull another 5 game losing streak, including getting swept by an inferior team as the Rays did last week, and things will get extremely dicey.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have high hopes for winning the division, but most of that depends on which Rays team shows up the remaining 7 weeks of the regular season.  Some of you may remember a piece I wrote a month ago lamenting the bi-polar Rays.  Ugh.  Yup, we’re still battling that demon and it looks as if the Prozac isn’t working.  The Rays bats either come loaded for bear on any given game, or they show up rubbing the sleep out of their eyes and wondering what city they’re playing.

Hey Rays bats!  This is your mid August wake-up call!  I don’t expect lights out every night but how’s about a little consistency?  That last 5 game skid had the team average flirting with the mid .100’s.  C’mon Rays bats, you’re so much better than that!

So tonight we begin a series with a resurgent Baltimore Oriole club that has somehow forgotten that they are a lousy team by going 8-2 in their last 10 games.  Psssst, hey Evan and company, the Orioles are 29.5 games back in the wild card race.  It’s time to break the spell the orange birds are under and remind them of how bad they actually are.  I don’t want to put any undue pressure on you guys but I don’t think a sweep is asking too much for a team of the Rays caliber.  That would go a long way towards making up for the ugly Toronto showing.

I have an idea.  Perhaps an alarm clock positioned close to the where the Rays bats are kept?  And set it to go off an hour before game time.  This will give the bats a chance to shake off the sleep and grab a cup of coffee.  Maybe a nice cinnamon roll.

Go Rays!

Editor’s note: This article by Rich Nesbitt was written just before the Friday (8-13-2010) game with the Orioles wearing those lovely orange unis.  Rich you are right on, hours after you submitted this, the Rays were 3 hit by the Birds of Baltimore and lost 5-0.  Someone did not set that alarm clock.

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